India's 5 highest wicket-takers vs Sri Lanka in the ODI World Cup ft. Zaheer Khan

Zaheer Khan celebrating at the 2011 ODI World Cup final vs Sri Lanka [Getty Images]
Zaheer Khan celebrating at the 2011 ODI World Cup final vs Sri Lanka. [Getty Images]

After handing an embarrassing 100-run loss to England, an upbeat Team India are set to face Sri Lanka in Match 33 of the ongoing ICC men's ODI World Cup 2023. Scheduled to be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on November 2, the upcoming fixture will be a repeat of the 2011 World Cup summit clash.

There is literally no stopping India currently. The Men in Blue have won each of their six matches and are at the top of the pile in the points table. A win against Sri Lanka will confirm their berth in the semi-final stage of the tournament.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will be hoping for some inspirational performance after their untimely defeat against Afghanistan. Although they are yet to officially be eliminated from the tournament, with just two wins in six games thus far, Sri Lanka have no plausible chances for a semifinal spot.

In the ODI World Cup history, India and Sri Lanka have collided against each other nine times, with the two teams winning four games apiece. One game in 1992 ended in a no-result.

During those eight World Cup games, several Indian bowlers have dished out phenomenal performances and have helped the team make a comeback in crucial stages of a game.

On that note, let's take a look at some of the Indian bowlers who stepped up when they faced Sri Lanka in the ODI World Cups.


#5 Ashish Nehra - 4 wickets

Ashish Nehra vs Sri Lanka at the 2003 ODI World Cup [Getty Images]
Ashish Nehra vs Sri Lanka at the 2003 ODI World Cup [Getty Images]

Two games after his iconic spell of 6/23 against England at the 2003 World Cup, Ashish Nehra shone once again, this time against Sri Lanka. At the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, Nehra plucked away four wickets for 35 runs as India bundled out the Lankans for a mere 109 runs to win the game by 183 runs.

It remains Nehra's only ODI World Cup game against Sri Lanka. Unfortunately for him, the left-arm pacer was forced to sit out in the 2011 ODI World Cup final clash in Mumbai due to an injury.


#4 Anil Kumble - 4 wickets

Anil Kumble of India dives but fails to stop the ball. [Getty Images]
Anil Kumble of India dives but fails to stop the ball. [Getty Images]

The only spinner to feature on this list is none other than Anil Kumble. India's all-time highest wicket-taker in ODIs took four scalps across three ODI World Cup matches against Sri Lanka.

India and Sri Lanka featured in two games in the 1992 edition, across which Kumble took three wickets, including a 2/39 in Delhi.

In the next edition, Kumble took the wicket of Mahela Jayawardene and finished with 1/27 in Taunton.


#3 Robin Singh - 5 wickets

Similar to Ashish Nehra, Robin Singh also features on the list despite playing just one ODI World Cup game against Sri Lanka. However, he made the opportunity count as he bagged 5/31 at the 1999 edition.

Interestingly, Robin's spell remains the only five-wicket haul taken by an Indian against Sri Lanka in the history of the quadrennial tournament.

After a historic 318-run stand between Rahul Dravid (145) and Sourav Ganguly (183) took India to 373 in the first innings, Robin's medium-pace bowling dismantled the Lankan middle and lower order.


#2 Zaheer Khan - 6 wickets

Zaheer Khan lifting the 2011 ODI World Cup [Getty Images]
Zaheer Khan lifting the 2011 ODI World Cup [Getty Images]

One of the all-time great left-arm pacers to have ever graced the cricket pitch, Zaheer Khan finds himself second on the list. From 2003 to 2011, he featured across three ODI World Cup games against Sri Lanka and took a total of six wickets in those fixtures.

He took two wickets in each of the three games, starting with a 2/33 in 2003 in Johannesburg. In 2007, he took 2/49 in Port of Spain but India lost that particular game.

However, in the unforgettable 2011 ODI World Cup final clash, Zaheer gave India a stupendous start as he bowled three maidens in his first five overs and took the wicket of Upul Tharanga. The left-armer finished the innings with 2/60 and ended the tournament as the joint-highest wicket-taker (21 wickets).


#1 Javagal Srinath - 8 wickets

Javagal Srinath pumped up after the wicket of Arvinda de Silva [Getty Images]
Javagal Srinath pumped up after the wicket of Arvinda de Silva [Getty Images]

One of the finest Indian pacers, Javagal Srinath holds the record for the most wickets by an Indian against Sri Lanka in ODI World Cups. Across four innings, Srinath took eight wickets at a great average of 19.12 and an economy of 4.68.

After going wicketless in his first game against Sri Lanka in a group-stage game in 1996, Srinath took 3/34 in the semi-final of the same edition in Kolkata.

His best performance, however, came at the 2003 tournament, where he bowled a superlative spell of 4/35 and helped India win the match. He wreaked havoc against a top-quality batting unit of Sri Lanka, which included the likes of Sanath Jayasuriya, Marvan Atapattu, Jehan Mubarak, and Arvinda de Silva.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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